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P&G continues to lead U.K. diaper market

December 13, 2012

Brands continue to face private label challenges

According to a report published by Companies and Markets, the U.K. baby diaper (nappy) market saw a sales growth of 5% through 2011, with increases driven mainly by inflation and the strong performance of private label brands. Volume growth was relatively modest at 1% in 2011 with cash-strapped consumers using the same diaper for longer time periods a trend that was reflected in a 5% rise in diaper rash treatments to £5 million.

Despite the recession, sales of nappies and wipes have held up strongly as consumers continue to want the best for their babies. Growth has been helped by a rise in the birth rate, with 8% more babies  born in 2010 than in 2005.

Procter & Gamble remained the leading company within the U.K. market in 2011, with a value share of 50%. The company lost half a percentage point in marketshare, thanks to an increasing challenge from private label offerings led by Tesco, Asda, Sainsbury's and Morrisons, which all grew at a faster rate than Procter & Gamble. Procter & Gamble increased its sales by 3% to £309 million, thanks partly to the successful launch of its New Pampers Baby Dry diaper.

Procter & Gamble's New Pampers Baby Dry was the key new product launch in 2011. The extra absorbent diaper is designed to provide up to 12 hours of dryness. The launch included new packaging designs and was backed by a multi-media campaign.

Kimberly-Clark unveiled its innovative Huggies Newborn Umbilical Cord Care (UCC) nappy which is shaped to go around the baby's belly button to enable healing after the separation of the umbilical cord. However, in October 2012 Kimberly-Clark decided to axe its core Huggies nappy brand in the UK market to focus on its strongest markets and growth opportunities elsewhere. The company will increase its marketing support for the Pull Ups, DryNites and Little Swimmers sub-brands as well as its Kleenex and Andrex brands.

Tesco was the best performing company with sales up by 8%. The success of the store reflected increased penetration by private label as price savvy consumers traded down from brands, tempted by cheaper prices and better product quality. Tesco holds 32% of the U.K. infant care market and saw sales of nappies, baby milk and baby food rise by 5% 2011.

Value growth within the U.K. diaper market is expected to slow through to 2016, increasing at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 1%. Growth will be constrained by on-going discounting in a tough market climate dominated by promotional activity and multi-value offers with bulk pack sizes.

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